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Mathematics  2015 

Theta characteristics of tropical $K_4$-curves

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A $K_4$-curve is a smooth, proper curve X of genus 3 over a nonarchimedean field whose Berkovich skeleton $\Gamma$ is a complete graph on 4 vertices. The curve X has 28 effective theta characteristics, i.e. the 28 bitangents to a canonical embedding, while $\Gamma$ has exactly seven tropical theta characteristics, as shown by Zharkov. We prove that the 28 effective theta characteristics of a $K_4$-curve specialize to the theta characteristics of its minimal skeleton in seven groups of four.


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